SHILLONG: If you are walking on a sidewalk in a megacity you may come across small stalls which sell a multitude of things from your morning cup of tea to your evening snacks.
But sidewalks are for the smooth walking experience of the commuters without disturbing the oncoming traffic. Now that these sidewalks are occupied by stalls selling everything under the sky, people have to walk on the road which again leads to the commotion on the road.
The Government of Meghalaya in order to give respite to the commuters has decided to mark the vending areas in the capital city Shillong and has also covered the busy areas in the city like the Jail Road and Police Bazaar which receives thousands of footfalls in a day.
This development however did not go well with the vendors and hawkers as they protested such a move by the government and also accused them of marking the areas at night so as to avoid an altercation with the vendors and hawkers.
It may be mentioned that the East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner's office had in August directed hawkers and street vendors occupying spaces that are obstructing major carriageways and pedestrian movement in Shillong to move away from such areas.
The hawkers and vendors of Meghalaya were in a legal battle with the Government since 2016 for their rights but the Meghalaya High Court in August this year disposed of all the matters or cases related to street vending and hawking.
The High Court observed that the government of Meghalaya is only trying to go by the book to adopt the central statute and has likewise taken these decisions and made rules in order to fulfill all the requirements of the central statute on the protection of livelihood and regulating street vending.
Deputy Commissioner of East Khasi Hills District, Iswanda Laloo, IAS said in a statement about the marking of vending stalls, "The vending zones were marked as part of the exercise for reducing stall space to ensure that there is no encroachment of the road or pedestrian space."